Letters, Sept. 13, 2018

Sep 13, 2018

Deepest appreciation

On behalf of everyone at Hidden Valley, we extend our deepest appreciation to the volunteer fire departments of Montville, Freedom, Liberty, Searsmont, Morrill, Unity, Belmont and Thorndike, all of whom responded to a blaze at the camp. Buildings were saved by these brave, timely, knowledgeable and brilliantly organized volunteers.

Many thanks,

Meg and Peter Kassen

Montville

Economics lesson

In response to Tom Seymour’s op-ed column published in the Journal Sept. 6, I respectfully suggest that Tom consult The Economist or an Economics 101 course book. We live in a global economy and depend upon other countries to supply elements and rare-earths. Products as simple as a pencil or complicated as smart phones are dependent upon imports from Africa and Ceylon. Our steel industry is dependent upon metals such as nickel, an alloy of high-grade steel, which is imported from Canada.

Coal is the dirtiest and most polluting of all fossil fuels. The notion of "clean coal" was invented by the owners of coal mines, making it an oxymoron. Dependency on coal is dwindling; many economists have opined that it may be time to administer the last rites to the coal industry.

Parts incorporated in U.S. automobiles are imported from England, China, Japan, India and other countries. Our auto industry relies upon foreign sales, foreign manufacturing facilities, and partnerships with foreign countries; and this industry will continue to prosper provided we do not burden it with foolish, misguided tariffs that encourage companies like Harley Davidson to move production overseas.

As part of the global economy, we are dependent upon trade and help from other countries. How soon we forget that Fiat bailed out Chrysler. Even if we could manufacture all that we consume, the cost to the consumer could be prohibitive. Price increases inflicted by trade barriers are a tax on all of us.

Decades ago Economist Milton Friedman wrote: “When government — in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the costs come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom.” There are no winners of trade wars — only losers.

Julian Cannell

Northport

Dodge has my vote

Jan Dodge has my vote for the Maine House of Representatives from Belfast, Waldo and Northport.

I have experienced Jan’s vitality in more than one community organization, and have found her a powerful force for getting things done. She is organized, she goes the extra mile to complete the tasks she sets out for herself, and she knows how to cooperate with others to accomplish big goals. Beyond this, I have found her to be a leader who inspires others.

Whether cleaning up after an event, sending hand-written invitations, or standing up to speak truth to power, I am impressed with Jan Dodge. We are lucky to have her as part of the community and I am grateful for the opportunity to vote for her to represent our interests in Augusta.

Jennifer Hill

Waldo

A strong record of listening

I am supporting Erin Herbig for state senate because she is a proven champion for all Mainers. She puts her values and ideas into action as evidenced by a strong record of listening to her constituents and making change in Augusta to support them.

Children who require specialized services (such as speech-language therapy) in rural areas of Maine face unique challenges due to a lack of in-person providers. As a speech-language pathologist who provides telepractice in these underserved areas, I appreciate that Erin recognizes the importance of strengthening our broadband infrastructure. Not only does this allow access to health care and education for children in underserved areas, but it also ensures I can stay in Waldo County, an area I love, and continue on my web-based career path.

If you also believe that all people of Maine, across generations, deserve a senator who will continue to improve our access to the resources needed to succeed academically and vocationally in a rural state, please join me in voting for Erin Herbig in November.

Amy Reid

Belmont

A proven leader

Over the past eight years, Waldo County has been fortunate to have a state senator who is experienced, level-headed, and responsive to the people he represents back home. Term limits prevent Senate President Mike Thibodeau from running again, but fortunately, we have another proven leader ready to step in.

Jayne Crosby Giles’ impressive track record will make her ready on Day One to be an effective leader for the people of Waldo County.

Jayne is one of us, having been born and raised in Belfast and spent most of her life in Waldo County.

Jayne has served in the Legislature before. As a state representative, she was a member of one of the most important committees, Appropriations and Financial Affairs, which is responsible for writing the state budget. She was also the House lead on the Business, Research and Economic Development Committee.

Her accomplishments outside the State House are equally impressive. Her three decades of experience as a small business lender and banker have given her an insight into the challenges Maine’s business community faces and solutions that produce results. She was also the CEO of MaineStream Finance, a nonprofit community development bank providing loans and financial services in rural Maine communities.

Jayne’s achievements have not gone unnoticed. She was named the Financial Services Champion for Maine and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is a past recipient of the SBA’s Women Business Advocate award for Maine.

It is rare that we have an opportunity to elect someone with Jayne’s experience and credentials.

Please join me in voting for Jayne Crosby Giles for Maine Senate District 11 on Nov. 6.

Scott L. Hawthorne

Belfast

A vote for Jayne, a vote for Waldo County

As a small child, I was blessed with a wonderful role model of inclusiveness and collaboration. From my earliest memories, Jayne always included me in her adventures and fun, even when it was hard for me to keep up with her and her older friends. And when our younger sister arrived, Karen was included, too.

Over the years I realized it wasn’t just me or Karen that she was including. Jayne’s outlook has always been: the more the merrier and the more differences in ideas and experiences the better. And even as a child she had a way of pulling us all together when some just couldn’t seem to agree, and of helping individual voices to be heard.

Back then, Jayne helped us play and work and solve problems together. And today, Jayne Crosby Giles brings this spirit of inclusion and collaboration to the Maine Senate race in Waldo County.

At a time of increasing divisiveness and partisanship, Jayne offers an outstretched hand and her belief in working together to solve problems facing Waldo County. Jayne seeks solutions that help Maine citizens, not ones that serve one political party or individual.

Jayne has proven that bipartisanship can make things happen in our state government. As our past representative in the Maine Legislature, Jayne formed a caucus with other representatives from both sides of the aisle; they worked together to arrive at solutions that helped Maine people and that both parties supported. Jayne hopes to build this bipartisanship in our Senate.

Jayne has the skill and desire to collaborate across party lines and the knowledge and, further, the experience to address our needs and economic problems in Waldo County.

She has over 30 years of experience working with Maine people in banking and with nonprofit organizations, supporting and advocating for small Maine businesses, homeowners, and home buyers. Jayne has learned, and continues to learn firsthand of challenges Maine people face and has worked for many years with individuals to help them get the resources, information, and support they need.

She has special concern for young people, young families, and seniors living an affordable, quality life in Waldo County. Jayne will work openly and collaboratively in the Senate to ensure that resources and education are available to help the people of our rural communities.

From an early age, Jayne recognized that there are strengths and good in each of us. She helped me and others understand that each of us has something of value to contribute, and encouraged us to seek out others’ ideas and input and appreciate differences.

Jayne modeled open-mindedness and trust in others, and demonstrated again and again that no one individual way alone is the sole “right” way, but rather there are many different ways — and through working together, we can find ways that can be even better. Jayne continues to inspire others today with her outlook and approach.

Your vote for Jayne is a vote for Waldo County and for Maine. She is inclusive, collaborative, open-minded, experienced, knowledgeable, and understanding.

Vote for Jayne Crosby Giles for your Waldo County representative in the Maine Senate.

Jan Banks

Belfast

Vote for change

Maine House District 96 is a diverse area stretching from Palermo to Lincolnville. Retired sea captain Stanley Paige Zeigler of Montville has worked hard to represent us during the last two difficult years in Augusta. Stan has served us with openness, honesty, rationality, moderation and even a sense of humor. He deserves another term and I urge my neighbors to give him their votes.

This summer, I received a letter, apparently along with other seniors in the 2nd District of Maine, from Congressman Bruce Poliquin touting his commitment to the Social Security and Medicare services.

I guess that's reassuring, but the problem is that he sent it out completely at taxpayer expense under his free congressional franking privilege. It's clearly a campaign letter, but because he didn't simply come out and say, "Vote for Poliquin," it's supposedly OK.

We can vote for change in Washington this fall. In contrast with so many of the self-serving figures currently in government, Jared Golden is a young man who did not hesitate when his country asked him to put his life on the line.

After the 9/11 attacks, Golden dropped out of college and volunteered for two tours of duty with the Marines in the Middle East. He then volunteered a third time to go back to Afghanistan as a civilian teacher. He finished college at Bates and worked in his family business. He was elected to the Maine House and quickly rose to leadership.

Having seen it up close, he knows that war should be undertaken only as a last resort. Unlike the Republicans, he is absolutely opposed to privatizing the Veterans' Administration, Social Security and Medicare. He wants to expand Medicaid, as a majority of Mainers have voted. He will reverse the Republican tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy.

Truckloads of money are on their way to Maine in order to keep the incumbent in office, but Jared is refusing any corporate PAC donations to his campaign. With Jared Golden, we have the opportunity to send a representative to Washington who will stand up to the rich and powerful, not stand for them.

Gene Bryant

Palermo

An anthem twist

In 1931, Congress approved "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem.  It won this role over competition from "Hail Columbia" and "America the Beautiful." The first verse of the the anthem poses the question, "Does the flag yet wave?" But the question remains unanswered, and it is usually dismissed by an announcer crying out, "Play ball!"

The additional verses by Key deal with the Battle of Baltimore and the siege of Ft. McHenry. These verses use stilted and archaic English, and do not mention the ideals of Americanism, which include trust in the Diety and elevation of individual liberty. Very clearly, this song was not written to be an anthem.

"The Star Spangled Answer" responds to the question posed by the first verse of the anthem, and deals with the meaning of American exceptionalism and the inspiration accorded by divine blessings.

Here is Phil White Hawk's updated second verse, written and copyrighted April 6, 2005.  White Hawk is a disabled U.S. Navy veteran of Cherokee lineage, living in Palermo.

The Star-Spangled Answer

Original by Francis Scott Key

Updated 2nd verse by Phil White Hawk (c) April 6, 2005

Oh, say can you see

Through the hundreds of years

What our forefathers wrought

Their descendants preserving?

 

Every wisdom divine

Every right of Mankind

Every freedom of life

With a vision unswerving

 

Though the world be in flames,

We forget not their names

Enshrined in our hearts

With a mem'ry enduring.

 

Thus the tyrant shall fail

Human freedom prevail

Though the ages roll by,

Still our Flag proudly sails!

 

Oh yes, that great Star-Spangled

Banner still waves

O'er the Land of the Free

And the Home of the Brave!

Connie Bellet

Palermo

Let's go through the process

The salmon farm question now facing Belfast is very complex, with strong pluses and minuses depending on how things play out. I don't want anything that isn't environmentally sound, and it will take some time before we can judge that. In the meantime, let's keep the questions coming because that's the only way we'll get the answers we need.

Here's something I haven't heard much discussion about. The water Nordic Aquafarm wants to buy form the Belfast Water District comes from an aquifer near the city line with Swanville. The pipes were installed long ago, and at some point they will have to be replaced, at a serious cost. Right now, district ratepayers will have to pick up that cost, which will make it even more expensive to own property here.

When the city brought water to my family's mobile home park on the East Side years ago, we connected our residents according to the city's regulations, using copper pipe. The pipes were corroded by the soil they were buried in, so we had to replace them with plastic. That caused rents at the park to increase, so I know what happens when major infrastructure improvements have to be financed by customers.

When I get my power bill from CMP, I have town charges, one for the electricity I use and the other for the cost of getting it to me, the transmission component. It wouldn't be too far-fetched for the Water District to itemize separately the bill for the water I use and the charge for the infrastructure that gets it to me. And believe me, that total will be higher than the single bill I get now. It looks to me like ratepayers may also have to replace the Little River dam that people love so much, along with the water lines.

So here's the up side of the fish farm: If we sell our surplus water to the Norwegians, they'll be paying a big chunk of those costs. That alone would make the salmon farm a good investment for Belfast, saving ratepayers millions of dollars.

I think the Nordic proposal is an opportunity for the city, provided it meets our concerns about the environment. I say let's go through with the process that's now underway and see what the environmental officials say. Let's all ask lots of questions. I hope we find that the fish farm is a great opportunity for Belfast and its ratepayers.

Dana Keene

East Belfast

Tired of Nordic talk?

True as this is, nothing represents the betrayal of city process, the staggering promises of money, or the glib assertions, by officials and corporate reps alike, of job growth (and other Utopian claims) quite like this hot topic. From the denial of significant citizen outrage to the wishing-away of a lawsuit, to the mysterious occurrence, and accusations surrounding an act of vandalism, it would feel like another reality TV show, if it weren’t for actual lives, both human and beyond, who are affected.

As a person currently investing in moving to Belfast (a plan called into question by Nordic’s appearance), I’m drawn to pay attention to developments most impacting city residents. In recent days, these include (in local media):

Protestations by the chairman of the Planning Board, accusing opponents of holding NAF to too high a standard (meanwhile, why is he recused from involvement in NAF’s plan?);

The economic development director has congratulated city officials and employees in moving this project forward in a compressed timeline (why was a waiver requested from the PUC to rush the process?);

Elaborate, convoluted explanations, by the city manager as to how the city came to hire a global firm, with cozy ties to NAF (Deloitte, by name) to perform a due-diligence report, and then more explanation from him about water usage which makes him sound uninformed and unrealistically optimistic in this era of drought;

Most recently, a city councilor in another piece (largely about himself), stated that the reason we should all love this is the increase in tax valuation. Also asserting that opponents are predicting a “panicked doomsday scenario.”

Turns out we are already in a slow (or not so slow, depending on perspective) meltdown of earth systems. The question is: Do we welcome business that accelerates Belfast’s local part in this (while incinerating due process)?

Just because some city officials “want” a certain project doesn’t mean enough citizens do, to make that project “right” for a city. Just because executives from the company and industry boosters push this,  please don’t denounce citizens whose conscience leads them to choose a different path. We all love Belfast, and want the best for our town and region.

In my view, this moment is about three issues:

1). Do we want very large industry plans (indeed, all plans) to be considered by legally conducted city process that considers the voices of skeptics as well as boosters?

2). If a new, foreign, corporation springs a huge, risky resource-hungry technology on us, full of “rush/hush” behind-the-scenes dealings, how do we respond?

3). Amid accusations of being nothing more than “Not In My Backyard” whiners, we ask you to consider these groups: SmartGrowthAmerica.org, GreenWave.org and StrongTowns.org.

In these uncertain times of unprecedented change, we need clear paths forward. City officials can help, or hinder, along the way.

Aimee Moffitt-Mercer

Belfast

 

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